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  • Edmonton should be concerned about AltaLink power line

    Edmonton should be concerned about controversial new AltaLink power line

    By Joe Anglin

    Evidence submitted that project could increase Edmonton death rate by 500 people per year!

    On April 14, 2005, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) received approval from the Alberta Energy Utility Board (EUB) to have AltaLink upgrade a 240KV transmission line to a 500KV line and develop an additional 500KV transmission line from Genesee (west of Edmonton) to Langdon (southeast of Calgary). This was approved despite opposition from the City of Calgary, the Industrial Power Consumers Association of Alberta, and the Alberta Direct Connect Consumer Association who argued for a more economical 240KV line.

    The sham behind this decision is that of the 13 alternatives considered, Option V was chosen in October 2003 prior to any consultation with any industry stakeholders. Option V was also chosen because it had the least landowner impact. However no landowners were ever consulted. Approximately three industry stakeholders meeting were held in early 2004; AESO submitted the final application to the EUB for approval on May 7, 2004; and because Option V was chosen, AltaLink was designated the sole beneficiary and future owner, awarded the rights to build and own the transmission line.

    SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC) is one of the world’s largest utility engineering and construction companies, and SNC owns 77% of AltaLink. This ownership guarantees SNC the contract (estimated to be worth about $600 million) to engineer and build this project. SNC consulted AESO on the need for this line and SNC’s ownership guarantees they get the contract. Upon completion, SNC would assume ownership of 77% of the asset. The project is paid for by the public, (called the load), and the transmission lines are expected to have a market value of approximately $2 billion dollars after completion.

    Landowners and citizens found out about this project only after it had been approved. They immediately filed for a review of the decision, citing lack of notification of the hearing. The EUB said the notification process was adequate but it was clearly confusing. The EUB granted the Landowners a review in July 2006, but refused to allow or consider any review of the need to build a transmission line. Landowners were not allowed to discuss or submit evidence challenging the decision that approved the line. In other words the landowners were granted a review but they were not allowed to review anything.

    The review, called a review and variance (R&V), granted landowners the unfair onus to prove a strip of land varying in width, from Edmonton to Calgary known as the “West Corridor,” to be unsuitable. Landowners, spent considerable time and resources to gather evidence to support their case that the “West Corridor” was unsuitable for another transmission line. When they requested that the EUB provide some criteria or a definition of suitable verses unsuitable the EUB did not respond.

    The challenge incumbent upon three landowner groups at the R&V was to disprove the empirical data utilized to create a corridor comparison chart in the Needs application [NID]. The corridor comparison chart in the NID is the evidence relied upon by the EUB in its decision. When landowners requested a copy, and the source of the information relied upon by AESO to construct a corridor comparison chart, AESO provided a document called N4(a) dated May 18, 2006. When asked how a document dated in 2006 could be included as evidence submitted in 2004, AESO responded by saying they had relied upon the information in the document but the finalized version was never published until 2006. During the R&V it was learned that N4(a) was constructed from two other documents submitted to the AESO by two electric transmission companies, AltaLink and ATCO. AltaLink submitted its document called N4(b) in November 2004 and ATCO submitted its document called N4(c) in July 2004. When it was pointed out to the EUB Board panel that both N4(b) and N4(c) arrived only after the application was submitted, the EUB panel ignored the conflict in the sequence of dates. AESO was asked if there were any other versions of N4(a), they said no, and when AESO was asked if they had submitted any evidence at the first hearing consisting of the information in N4(a), they said no.

    It was argued in the closing statements that the only evidence provided to the Board panel, concerned only the unsuitability of the west corridor. Furthermore, AESO having the opportunity to submit evidence failed or chose not to submit evidence, the Board had no alternative but to find the corridor unsuitable. The Board panel rejected the argument.

    After the R&V, Altalink filed an application to build a line. In that application AltaLink made public a different corridor other than the one under consideration at the R&V. Landowners complained when they discovered AltaLink withheld information from them at the R&V. The critical information was, AltaLink moved the corridor 20 miles north of Calgary and reduced it in width by 50%, from twelve miles wide to six miles wide. In affect, AltaLink mislead landowners into thinking the corridor was 12 miles-wide when it was only ever considering a 6 mile-wide corridor. In essence, by withholding information, in what could be classified as a classic bait-and-switch tactic, Altalink misled the landowners into a futile effort to disprove a 12-mile wide corridor when in reality they were only ever considering a six-mile wide corridor in a different location.

    There are number of inconsistencies and conflicts of interest that surround the application to build these transmission lines. Evidence was submitted during the R&V that showed that the death rate in and around Edmonton would increase by 500 people annually, based on each 10-micron increase in particulate matter air pollution. When the question was asked how much more particulate matter will increase as a result of the increased generation, the Board only asked “What if the study is wrong”? It is widely known, that air pollution in and around Edmonton will increase as a result of increased generation, but to what degree no one knows.

    Kellan Fluckiger the chief executive in charge of Alberta Dept of Energy testified at the first hearing and then wrote a letter supporting the approval of this 500KV line at the R&V. He is married to a senior executive at Altalink, the direct beneficiary of this project.

    In a letter written to landowners prior to the beginning of the R&V, the EUB denied landowners the opportunity to cross-examine friendly witnesses.

    When landowners pointed to the Transmission Regulations and said the EUB violated sec: 28 of the regulations, the Board responded by saying that participants at the original hearing agreed to not apply that section of the law. When it was pointed out that Sec: 32 of the same regulations says the “Transmission Regulations” supercede any agreement prior to or after the law comes into affect, the Board rejected the argument. Evidence shows that there was no agreement verbally or otherwise to not to abide by Sec:28. On the contrary, transcripts confirm every lawyer participating agreed that the “Transmission Regulations” applied in their entirety.

    AltaLink has made public in press statements that this transmission line is not for electricity export. However, the EUB approval was granted giving considerable weight to the capabilities of this line to increase export. Maximum export capabilities are 750MW at light loads.

    In 2004, the Northwest Transmission Assessment Committee (NTAC) convened a study group with the mandate of identifying transmission options that could be used to connect new generation projects in Western Canada to consumers in California. The group included experienced transmission planners from Alberta’s AESO.

    Called the Canada-NW-California (CNC) group, the objective of the CNC study was to provide high-level information on the feasibility of potential transmission projects to transfer a variety of new resources out of Canada into California. The first step was to identify potential generation resources that could influence the development of the transmission grid from Canada though the Pacific North West and on to California.

    The analysis was done for delivery of Canadian energy to the Columbia River area and both northern and southern California. AltaLink’s 500 KV line is included in a number of options, specifically options 5A, 5B, 7A, and 8A.






    This story takes many twist and turns. The regulator supposedly delegated to protect the rights of the citizens consistently worked to undermine the integrity of the process. At one point in the hearing when the Board Chairman called an opposition lawyer a “Philadelphia Lawyer”, he then shouted at a landowner, “I am denying your right”.

    There is a litany of improprieties plaguing this 500KV transmission line application. Events and statements indicate that public officials are complicit in the approval of this transmission line and the primary beneficiary is AltaLink and the coal electricity generating companies of TransAlta, Epcor, and TransCanada, who are seeking what appears to be, a backroom deal to have the public subsidize electricity export to California.

    Concept V (two 500KV transmission lines) was chosen in October 2003, coincidentally just at the same time two senior employees of TransAlta transferred to AESO. Concept V is inescapably identical to the 1980 500KV TransAlta proposal that was never built.

    An anonymous source well connected in the electricity industry in Alberta has informed me that this line was promised to AltaLink back when TransAlta spun off AltaLink, in an effort to sweeten the deal for AltaLink’s partners.

    There is no evidence to support this last claim, however circumstantial evidence supports the theory.

  • #2
    Re: Edmonton should be concerned about AltaLink power line

    On April 14, 2005, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) received approval from the Alberta Energy Utility Board (EUB) ...
    The "Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB)" claims to be an agency of the "Government of the Province of Alberta". The "Government of the Province of Alberta" claims authority from the "Alberta Act" which supposedly was enacted by Canada's Parliament in 1905.

    The present draft of the "Alberta Act", as written in 1905, states: “Therefore His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:-”.

    In 1905, Section 9 of the British North America Act, 1867, now called the Constitution Act, 1867, stated: "The Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen".

    In 1905, Section 17 of the British North America Act, 1867, now called the Constitution Act, 1867, stated: "There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons".

    In 1905, Section 91 of the British North America Act, 1867, now called the Constitution Act, 1867, stated: "It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces; ...".

    Edward VII was not a Queen. Edward VII was not Canada's constitutional Queen regnant in 1905.

    Comment


    • #3
      Good eye!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Edmonton should be concerned about AltaLink power line

        The "Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB)" claims to be an agency of the "Government of the Province of Alberta".
        Members of the "Government of the Province of Alberta" swore, or affirmed, that they would be faithful and bear true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II.

        Section 128 of the Constitution Act, 1867 states: "...every Member of a Legislative Council or Legislative Assembly of any Province shall before taking his Seat therein take and subscribe before the Lieutenant Governor of the Province or some Person authorized by him, the Oath of Allegiance contained in the Fifth Schedule to this Act; ...".

        The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution Act, 1867 states:

        "Oath of Allegiance

        I A.B. do swear, That I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

        Note. The Name of the King or Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the Time being is to be substituted from Time to Time, with proper Terms of Reference thereto."

        Queen Elizabeth II is not Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

        Comment


        • #5
          Am I the only one confused as to why this is linked to a 500 kV power line?
          President and CEO - Airshow.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RichardS
            Am I the only one confused as to why this is linked to a 500 kV power line?
            RichardS, what is the word "this" referring to in your above question?

            Comment


            • #7
              Your responses....how does the BNA relate to a 500kV transmission line...when the concern expressed here is about health, safety, and need for such a line?

              This is like having a discussion about power lines and tangenting to people in Thunder Bay having a desire to eat Nanaimo bars stuffed with Havarti...

              I know I can be the tangent king, but this one????

              Are you saying that our EUB, and our government is a historic sham??? Then again, how does that relate to a 500kV line?
              President and CEO - Airshow.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by RichardS
                Your responses....how does the BNA relate to a 500kV transmission line ... how does that relate to a 500kV line?
                One way the 500kV transmission line relates to the British North America Act, 1867 is as follows:

                "On April 14, 2005, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) received approval from the Alberta Energy Utility Board (EUB) to have AltaLink upgrade a 240KV transmission line to a 500KV line and develop an additional 500KV transmission line from Genesee (west of Edmonton) to Langdon (southeast of Calgary)". The "Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB)" claims to be an agency of the "Government of the Province of Alberta". The "Government of the Province of Alberta" claims authority from the "Alberta Act" which supposedly was enacted by Canada's Parliament in 1905. Canada's Parliament is referred to in the British North America Act, 1867, now called the Constitution Act, 1867.

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                • #9

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                  • #10
                    At this point, I almost expect the CIA, Elvis and Reverse Vampires to be blamed for some transmission line conspiracy...
                    [email protected][email protected]: the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dpwozney
                      One way the 500kV transmission line relates to the British North America Act, 1867 is as follows:

                      (...)
                      Let me be more direct...

                      Who cares about this contextual question. The EUB IS the governing body in Alberta, King, Queen, nephew, or Richard the Rodent, the EUB is it.

                      The issue at hand, again, is

                      1. what are the health affects of 500kV lines vs 250 (I for one suspect such EMF effects in causing my major health issue aka cancer),
                      2. are we building this due to need or due to exports, and
                      3. was this rammed down throats w/o proper consultation.

                      King, Queen , or not, several farmers and communities in the Genesee/Keephills area were displaced due to decisions by this board and predecessors, so I tend to believe that they do weild some power... Burying it in the politics of "what is is"...well...that won't address the real issue at hand. Rewrite at will, that won't change the fact that the re-written body still would probably approve this.
                      President and CEO - Airshow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Maybe this will get this on track...

                        Can we get the evidence that leads to the 500+ deaths posted here? Just how much more of an EMF problem does 500kV produce? Has there been a proven link to Cancers and proximity to transmission lines or generating stations?

                        As for the process for this line getting approval, is there a review in the works?
                        President and CEO - Airshow.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nuclear power plants emit less carbon dioxide than coal-fired power plants. A goal of the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. A nuclear power plant could be built with a shorter transmission line length.

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                          • #14
                            Ok, where.

                            Nukes will be NIMBY'd to death. More than likely, you'd get a nuke way way out from somewhere, so you'd need this longer line. For example, the rumors of a nuke in NW Sask...what is that close to and would it take all that energy alone for the tar sands? They wouldn't build this to help exports?

                            I am still curious as to the 500kV vs 250 kV argument when it comes to particulates et al. What's to say that a 500kV wouldn't be required, distance or not. That energy could help out a place as big as, say, LA...
                            President and CEO - Airshow.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A nuclear power plant could be built, with a relatively short transmission line length, relatively close to wherever the power is needed.

                              Long-distance above-ground electricity transmission lines can encounter as much opposition as nuclear power plants with much shorter transmission line lengths.

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